Feel the heat? That’s Florida Gov. DeSantis going big in defense of gas stoves. Really . . . | Opinion
Only 8% of Florida households — about 630,000 homes — rely on gas stoves, according to federal data. So it’s safe to say that the Sunshine State has been doing just fine with electric cooking appliances.
But, now, giving sales-tax exemptions for the purchase of gas stoves is among the “really, really big things” Gov. Ron DeSantis says he’s doing with his $114.8 billion state budget for 2023-24 proposed this week. Gas stoves are apparently so crucial for Florida families that they rank right next to baby diapers and clothing, strollers, cribs and pet medications. These are the expenses that truly add up for families and, rightly so, also would be exempted from sales taxes under the governor’s spending plan.
Is the governor a foodie and cooking snob? Are Floridians clamoring for gas stoves and burning their electric cooking appliances in protest?
Well, no, but gas stoves have become a rallying cry for conservatives, the new emblem in their fight against “libs,” the woke mob, tree huggers and big-government federal bureaucrats who are allegedly cooking up a ploy to confiscate this unexpected symbol of American freedom.
“They want your gas stove, and we’re not going to let that happen,” DeSantis said Wednesday. Puh-leeze!
Still, this all began with a little bit of help from federal regulators themselves, a foot-in-the-mouth moment by the commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In an interview with Bloomberg, Richard Trumka Jr. suggested — in light of research on the links between gas stoves and health issues — his agency could take some regulatory action and that, “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” He later walked that back, saying any regulation would only apply to new products. The CPSC chair also clarified there are no bans are in sight, and even President Biden weighed in to say his administration doesn’t support a gas-stove ban.
Too late for clarifications, though. Gas stoves, unlike COVID-19 vaccines, are a must-get for DeSantis all of a sudden.
Research over the past half century has shown that the gas emitted from stoves can be harmful to people and may be linked to childhood asthma. A study published last year in the Environmental Science & Technology journal found that cooking without proper ventilation can cause levels of nitrogen dioxide to surpass national standards.
If you don’t mind the potential health risks, gas stoves do make a mean beef stew. They make an even better platform for grandstanding.